Sunday, August 31, 2008


At the end of January, I had blogged on two very similar church buildings, SS. Peter and Paul Basilica in Lewiston, ME, and the Church of Our Lady in Guelph, ON.

Now for some news on a more local level:

This morning after Mass at St. John's, I found some pictures on the bulletin boards (the pastor announced these after Communion). These pictures were of a church in Montreal built by the same architect (Ernest Cormier), just two years after St. John's was built. The church was originally named Ste. Marguerite-Marie, but later became a "Latin-American Mission" and was renamed Notre-Dame-de-Guadalupe.

Similarly, St. John the Baptist Church in Pawtucket, RI, was built for what was originally a French-Canadian congregation. Known as late as the 1970's as "St. Jean-Baptiste", locals often referred to it simply as "St. Jean's", pronouncing "Jean's" in English (long "e" sound). However, as a result of a change in demographics, the parish is now heavily Hispanic. St. John's has two Masses in English and two Masses in Spanish.

Unfortunately, neither church has much for pictures on the web. In fact, the Montreal church doesn't even have a website. I was able to, however, come up with these.

St. John the Baptist, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Notre-Dame-de-Guadalupe, Montreal, Quebec. Same face, but no belltower.

The interior of St. John's.

The interior of Notre-Dame-de-Guadalupe. The windows take a very similar shape. According to the pastor of St. John's (in my post-Mass conversation with him), the windows of both churches were designed by the same Parisian artist (though the windows at St. John's actually have drawings).

A couple of other differences - the ceiling and the lighting - are also visible in these pictures. The pastor at St. John's is fixing to research the artist who worked on the ceiling there. The organ case at St. John's is larger. There is a picture on the St. John's bulletin board showing the organ case. However, I couldn't find any pictures of the organ on the web. Also, there are about ten steps one must climb to get to the sanctuary of St. John's.

I say there, we have twins!


9:30 AM - St. John the Baptist Church, Pawtucket, RI
Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

I found out after Mass that I almost had to bail out Paul, the organist. By the offertory, he was undergoing a nasty sweat; his sugar level dropped big time. His cantor almost ran downstairs to come get me. I told Paul, "you should have". Anyhoo, my prayers to Paul for his improved health.

Here's today's music list...

Lift high the cross..."Crucifer"
Psalm was said (probably the pastor's version of "summer mode")
Alleluia...Alstott (Respond and Acclaim setting for the day)
For the fruits of this creation..."Ar hyd y nos"
- (I haven't heard this tune in eons. Nice tune.)
Sanctus and Agnus...Vermulst (People's Mass)
Memorial and Amen...Danish
- (Oh happy thought!!! NO MASSIVE CREMATION!!! BTW, this People's/Danish combo is what I normally use when I'm in summer mode.)
Stewards of Earth..."Finlandia"
- (The text is a Westendorf hit from the 80's.)
America the Beautiful..."Materna"
- (I'm not a fan of programming a "patriotic hymn" just because a secular holiday comes up the following day, but I have to say it - I love the modulation Paul did between verses!)


Friday, August 29, 2008


For MahonyFest '09

RSCT to Mary Jane, who writes in her own post:
If this doesn't draw people to Gregorian chant, I don't know what will!

That's it! A cabaret Mass! Oops! Better not give them ideas!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


WTF Awards Edition

Today I have a WTF award to give out, and it's in the field of sports. The recipient: the New Haven (Connecticut) Little League. Here's why.

What kind of league bans a nine-year-old kid from pitching just because he's good? Yeah, so he throws 40 MPH. SO FREAKIN' WHAT?! He hasn't hit a batter all year, and he's accurate! Yeah, so he's struck out your kid who can normally park a ball against most other pitchers. Instead of being wusses, toughen your players up and teach them to swing at faster pitches. Give them a good practice session at a batting cage. My daughter plays in a girls softball league where many of the girls, even at nine years old, can hit pitches that fast and more.

Teams have been forfeiting games anytime he pitches. WHY?! The kid himself feels it's his fault that others don't want to play. It's NOT his fault. You can't be faulted for excelling at your craft. That's just plain wrong.

Now - check out this political bull shit...

Jericho's coach and parents say the boy is being unfairly targeted because he turned down an invitation to join the defending league champion, which is sponsored by an employer of one of the league's administrators.

So, that's why? Is the "defending league chump" that afraid that this kid's going to upstage them with his pitching? Well boo-freakin'-hoo! Real champions will step up to the challenge.

So, congratulations to the New Haven Little League (not the kids, but the officials), recipients of the August 2008 WTF Award. Jerks!


(PS: for those who aren't used to seeing me this harsh, I'm sorry, but being a father whose daughter is in sports, this really pisses me off!)

Monday, August 25, 2008


Yup - here's the skinny!

The Vatican will allow the Mass for the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul to be said on a Sunday in 2009, during the Pauline jubilee year.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments published Friday the decree authorizing the Mass to be said Jan. 25, 2009, which falls on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Source: Zenit


Saturday, August 23, 2008


Anticipated Mass for the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
(Ordinary Form) - St. Rocco Church, Johnston, RI

This afternoon I attended the 5:00 Mass at St. Rocco's, a parish staffed by the Missionaries of St. Charles (aka the "Scalabrini Fathers" or "Scalabrinians"). The Scalabrinians staff three parishes in the Providence area, all founded originally for the Italian-speaking population. Two of the three parishes, Holy Ghost in Providence, and St. Rocco's in Johnston, still have an Italian Mass. All three (the third is St. Bartholomew's in Providence) also have a Spanish Mass and at least two Masses in English (St. Rocco's has four in English).

The organ is a 16-rank Wicks, recently augmented by Rodgers (I remember seeing a two-manual Wicks console about 20-some years ago). The hymn selections this afternoon were quite good. The accompaniment was played well, but (IMO) was dragged (from what I was told, the pastor likes it that way, I don't know why). The pew books were Seasonal Missalette and Breaking Bread. The latter was used at the offertory only. The entrance, communion, and recessional hymns came from the former.

The music for today:
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven..."Lauda Anima"
Lord, your love is eternal...Schaefer
- (Note: this was the setting in Seasonal Missalette. The antiphon was quite nice. However, the cantor spoke the verses. My preference would be to sing it all or say it all.)
I have no clue where the alleluia came from, but it wasn't bad.
A mighty fortress is our God..."Ein' feste berg"
Massive Cremation (OK - there had to be a catch, right? I'll give the organist credit for making some changes to the accompaniment, however. I think he did it some justice.)
Wisdom's Feast...Westendorf/Brubaker
The Church's One Foundation..."Aurelia"

Yes, the Luther work was the piece that was sung from Breaking Bread. See? Yes, you too can have a music program using Breaking Bread or the Music Issue without all those banal ditties that many parishes have to endure week after week. I've done it in several parishes (only one - Holy Name - appreciated it, though we switched to Worship III after I was there a year).

Now, if we can only get the publishers (OCP and GIA especially) to lose the banal ditties altogether. Out of sight, out of mind.


Friday, August 22, 2008


RSCT to our NLM friend Jeffrey Tucker.

Pastoral Music, the official cat box liner of NaPalM, is promoting liturgical ensembles in the mag's most recent issue. Of course, here is their idea of liturgical ensembles:

The cover has a flute player in a jeans jacket playing next to two cellists in front of a youth choir. Page 14 has a guitar player with a conga player. Page 17 has two guitar players and a conga player. Page 18 features a guitar player. Page 22 has three bongo players. Page 24 has two flute players with a recorder player in front of a youth choir. Page 26 has a cellist and a violinist. Page 27 has a string bass player plucking his instrument. Page 28 has two guitar players with singers crowded around microphones. Page 31 has a pianist with a clarinetist, two flute players, a violist, and a trumpet player. Page 33 shows another flute player. Page 34 has two guitar players. Page 38 has two guitar players with a recorder player and two singers. Page 52 has a cantor in the "touchdown" position.

I think the "touchdown position" line is hilarious. I'm LMAO here!

OK, where the hell is the organ with any of this? Yeah, I'm talking about the "king of instruments", the instrument that the Second Vatican Council stated very clearly is "to be held in high esteem", doncha know?

Also in said issue are "excerpts" from Pope Pius XII's document Mediator Dei. I haven't seen the article, but Jeffrey mentions that the excerpts selected were agenda driven. Why am I NOT surprised? After all, this is NaPalM that we're talking about here.

Jeffrey writes:
But this sort of editorial manipulation really has no place in materials that are distributed with the stated goal of helping Church musicians do what the Church intends.

You and I both know that. I'm sure they do too. But do they care? Nah! People on their message boards will simply refer to Vatican authority figures as "clueless". I was on the boards from 1998 to 2006 (with a brief boot in late 2003-mid 2004). I've seen these things happen.

Kudos to Mr. Tucker for yet another excellent take!


...was the first time this week I got home from the new job BEFORE 10 PM (not counting Monday, which was a three-hour paperwork/video watching day). And my day starts at the depot at 9:30 AM. How's that for short mornings and short evenings, eh?

CVA #143 is in the works and should be up over the weekend - probably by Sunday night if all goes right. Feature topic: singing from the organ console. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

CATHOLIC CARNIVAL 186 up and running at Ebeth's place.

Both takes on the new Mass translation (mine and Jason's) are featured at the Carnival.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Feast Day of the Assumption of the BVM

Last Thursday and Friday, I was at the console of the Cathedral of St. John here in Lafayette for the feast of the Assumption. I was subbing for my colleague on those days. The feast day is a big deal (or should be) most everywhere, but down here in South Louisiana it's an even bigger deal, since Our Lady of the Assumption is the patroness of the Acadian Peoples. Back when I was organist under Bishop Provost, this fact was always made very clear both from the pulpit and in the bulletin. And it was absolutely de rigeur that the music of the French Royal Chapel should dominate the day's music list. Second in line on my old lists were excerpts of the Franck 3 chorales and the big chunky sections of the Piece Heroique (The A section up to the drum beats, the recap of the A section after the drum beats and the final chorale). Out of respect for the day and its cultural import locally, I stuck to the tradition of having French repertoire for the Assumption. All selections are from the Couperin Messe pour les Convents, of course with the exception of the improvisation at the offertory, through which I offered hommage to Jean Langlais and Olivier Messiaen.

Ordinary: Celtic Mass
Prelude: Plein Jeu (premier couplet du Gloria)
Dialogue sur la voix humaine
Introit Hymn: Hail Holy Queen
Gradual: Basilica Psalter
Alleluia: Triple
Credo: recited
Offertory: Improvisation upon Ave Maria (Gregorian)
Communion: Elevation: Tierce en taille
Plein jeu sur l'Agnus
Final: Offertoire sur les grands jeux (final section)

The instrument at the cathedral is a fabulous three manual Casavant (1985 -- 53 ranks) which has all you need for anything French, including the delicious snarling reeds and copious mutations. In south Louisiana, I couldn't imagine attempting playing a Mass without reeds or mutations! The French tone colors are bold yet nuanced, and reflect a liturgical worship integral to local culture.


After Johnny Damon left the Red Sox and signed with the Yankees, he had to lose the beard and the long hair as a "job requirement". Well, I didn't have the long hair to lose, but I had to lose the only sign of wisdom I had left - the beard - as part of my new job requirement (I start in just two short hours). It's the first time I've been totally clean shaven in almost four years.

Here goes nothing!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Pictured here is the newly-named Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Waterbury, CT. This minor basilica is the first basilica in Connecticut.

OK, you may think this is nice outside. The inside is drop-dead gorgeous. Click here for some pics from the dedication.

Also, here's the story in the June 2008 issue of the Catholic Transcript, the official newspaper of the Archidocese of Hartford.

I wonder if Rhode Island will ever have a minor basilica. I know of at least a couple of churches that would fit the bill - Holy Name is one of them.


Saturday, August 16, 2008


I just finished the Kyrie for the new Mass setting I mentioned yesterday. I decided to be different - instead of an original melody, I wrote a metrical (3/2 time), yet simple, adaptation of the first line of the Kyrie from Mass VIII (Missa de Angelis).


The accompaniment is completely my own.

I will not release this work until I see a promulgation date for the new Missal translation.

Friday, August 15, 2008


The title you see in this post is the title of the new Mass setting I am beginning work on. This is an English Mass, according to the newly-approved translation of the Ordinary of the Mass, that I hope to have prepared by the time the entire Mass gets approved.

This Mass setting will include music for:
Lord, Have Mercy (Kyrie, Eleison)
Glory to God in the Highest (Gloria in Excelsis Deo)
Alleluia (with a chant-like Psalm tone for use with the Proper verse of the day)
- Note: a Lenten replacement has not been specified in the new translation - yet! Once it does, I'll update accordingly.
I Believe (Credo)
Holy (Sanctus)
All three Memorial Acclamations (We proclaim your death, O Lord; When we eat this bread and drink this cup; and Save us, Savior of the world)
I will not include an "Amen", in hopes that use of the simple chant A-men___ (F FG or G GA or whatever) will be promoted.
Lamb of God (Agnus Dei)

I wanna be ready, man! :-P


It wasn't until I logged into GIA's website today (for the first time in about a month) that I learned about the death of the French Jesuit Pere Joseph Gelineau on Friday, August 8. He was 87, and had been a priest for 67 years.

Pere Gelineau was best known for his musical settings of the Psalms, originally in French, and later in English (Grail translation). Many of his Psalm tones appear with the Psalms as they appear with the Lectionary readings in Worship III. The Good Lord knows I've used and enjoyed (and still do enjoy) many of them over the years at the organ console at Holy Mass.

GIA has this obituary at their website:

With heavy hearts, the people of GIA Publications, Inc. mourn the passing of a liturgical and musical legend, Father Joseph Gelineau, SJ (1920-2008), pastor and visionary. His contribution to the world of liturgical music was both ground breaking and prolific. Gelineau devoted his life to liturgy and was instrumental in the movement toward the Second Vatican Council. He was most renowned for his numerous psalm tones (covering the entire Psalter), which were originally written for the Psalter of the Bible de Jérusalem, and were later applied to the Grail Psalter in English. For over 60 years he also composed for Brother Roger and the Taizé Community. The spiritual power of his music inspired many and now lives in the hearts and minds of Christians worldwide. He died in Sallanches, August 8, 2008 at the age of 87 after 67 years as a Jesuit priest.

Fr. Gelineau's funeral Mass was celebrated Tuesday, August 12, 2008, in the village of Vallorcine in the Savoy Alps.

May he rest in eternal peace with his Jesuit brothers in Grenoble, France.

Fr. Gelineau will be missed. May his legacy of excellent music live on!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Now here's a score you don't see very often in baseball:


That's exactly what happened last night at Fenway!

The Red Sox put up 10 runs in the first inning (six of them driven in by David Ortiz, who hit two three-run homers in the same inning). However, by the sixth inning, the Rangers took a 15-14 lead (they scored eight runs in the fifth, and five more in the sixth).

The lead returned to the Red Sox as Kevin Youkilis parked one in the eighth inning for a three-run homer (he also hit a two-run homer in the fifth). This put the Red Sox back ahead to stay.

Here's the linescore:


Vann Rangers 0 2 0 0 8 5 1 0 1 17 20 2

O'Malley Red Sox 10 0 2 0 2 0 1 4 X 19 17 2

I haven't seen a slugfest like that since 1979, when the (now Rigali) Phillies beat the (now George) Cubs 23-22! Also, the 19 runs that the Red Sox scored is the most since 2003, when they smoked the (now Galeone) Marlins in an interleague game 25-8. In that game, the Sox put up 14 runs in the first inning, and 11 before the first out was even made.

I love slugfests (especially when the Red Sox are on the winning end)! :-)



No, not "bye bye, God". Just "bye bye" to the Divine Name YHWH, most commonly rendered as "Yahweh" in the liturgy (this includes, btw, any other attempted pronunciations of the Divine Name of God), whether it be in prayer or in song.

Bp. Serratelli in his cover letter:
While the directives contained here do not force any changes to official liturgical texts, including our continuing work of the translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, which already follow the spirit of the directives, there may be some impact on the use of particular pieces of liturgical music in our country as well as in the composition of variable texts such as the General Intercessions for the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments.

Cdl. Arinze in his instruction (in snips):
1. In liturgical celebrations, in songs and prayers the name of God in the form of the tetragramatton YHWH is neither to be used or pronounced.
3. In translating, in the liturgical context, texts which are present, one after the other, either the Hebrew term Adonai or the tetragramatton YHWH, Adonai is to be translated "Lord" and the form "God" is to be used for the tetragramatton YHWH, similar to what happens in the Greek translation of the Septuagint and in the Latin translation of the Vulgate.

Source here (letter from Cdl. Arinze, prefaced in a cover letter by Bp. Serratelli)

The bright side is the following songs would have to be either (my personal preference) removed or (at the very least) altered:
- Yahweh (is the God of my salvation)
- Yahweh, I know you are near
- Yahweh, the faithful one (knock on wood - I haven't heard this one in over twenty years!)
- Sing a new song unto the Lord (verse 1, anyways)
- To Yahweh sing a new song (This appeared in the now out-of-print Worship II, was dropped in Worship III)

And I'm sure there are more.

Here's a little ditty to help discourage the use of YHWH, Yahweh, Jahweh, whateverweh...
Yahweh,__ I know___ you are near,
But that name___ has got__ to__ go,
In prayers and__ hymns and songs,
Use the name "Lord"__ instead__ in our worship.



Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Extraordinary Form Low Mass)
August 17, 2008, 5 PM - St. Leo the Great Church, Pawtucket, RI

Christ is made the sure foundation..."St. Thomas"
- (Note: if I had my way, it would be Worship III in the pews. At least that book uses "Westminster Abbey")
Ubi Caritas...Mode VI
Magnificat...Tone 6F (from Worship II)
The kingdom of God..."Laudate Dominum"



A special edition of Christus Vincit Sports

Let's just call this weekend the week from hell, with the only thing going right being my daughter's all-star team was victorious in their final tournament of the summer.

Our original plan was to camp out at Burlingame State Campground from Friday to Monday. We were supposed to leave from home after I finished a funeral at St. Leo's. Well, that plan backfired, as I got home and learned from my wife that Britt's coach had called and decided to hold a practice at 5:30 tonight. And there was no way that I was going to make the hour-long trek to the campsite, come back home, and go back again, especially at today's gas prices.

So, we get to the practice, which was called, due to a torrential downpour that had just finished minutes before. However, the coach gathered us anyways to give us directions to the tournament field (which I had gotten the night before from the coach's wife) and for the girls to sign a ball for the team's sponsor in thanks for paying for our team's entry fee.

I got to the campground, finally, at about 8:00 PM --- NO CAMPSITES AVAILABLE! Until this year, Burlingame's tent sites were first come/first served. We never knew that they started reserving sites before. On a normal summer Friday, we would have had a site had we gotten there by 1:00 PM. Well, it so happened that my wife Ann had invited her friend Candy to camp out with us, and it worked out nicely that Candy's stepfather had a beach house not far from Burlingame. So, she called her stepfather and got the OK for all of us to crash at the beach house for the weekend.

Now for the tournament (OR: Finally, the CV Sports portion of this post!):

Like the previous two tournaments, we played three games on Saturday to determine seed for Sunday's games. Our first game was a 9:00 AM game against Smithfield's Blue team (their "A" team, shall we say). We lost 6-4. Britt went 1 for 2, grounding out and reaching on a bloop single.

The second game, immediately after, was against Smithfield's White team (their "B" team that we've smoked more than once). We smoked them again - 10-0. Britt walked (and scored on a later hit) and whiffed in her two plate appearances.

The third game, immediately after that, was against North Kingstown, the host team. We've beaten them before, although they smoked us in the regional tournament in Lowell, MA. This time, we won - 2-0. Britt whiffed twice. However, this was a classic pitcher's duel. We were scoreless till the fifth inning.

Our 2-1 finish for Saturday gave us second seed out of five teams (only the Smithfield "A" team was undefeated). Now we go to Sunday - single elimination. BUT FIRST...

Yours truly travels back to Burlingame at 8:30 AM, manages to get us a site. I pay for the next three nights. Now, back to sports...

We re-match North Kingstown. What a nail-biter! We had a 5-2 lead going into the top of the last inning and we gave them three runs! OUCH! In the bottom of the inning, with the score still tied 5-5, two out and bases loaded, Kamryn, our sole lefty, walked in the winning run for us - 6-5. Britt's hitting: two walks and a ground out.

So we now land up playing the championship game against none other than Smithfield's Blue team, the team that beat us Saturday. This time, we dominated our way to an easy 8-2 victory! Britt's hitting: walked, grounded into a force play, and grounded out.

Britt gets another trophy, and a piece of victory cake, and we finally get to Burlingame. We pitch camp, eat supper, sit and relax, and we go to sleep. 1 AM - Wouldn't you know - MORE FREAKIN' RAIN! All morning!

Finally yesterday was nice for a bit, but we had five spot showers throughout the day. Today, now that we pack up and go home, guess what! Nice day, no rain, no dark clouds, just nice sun!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Hype and Hooplah Regarding Bones, Miracles, and Dead Englishmen

Little Konrad was a naughty child, but a very inquisitive young fellow who paid close attention to the world around him. He had always wondered why his parish priest walked with a swish like a fashion model on a runway at a Paris show, thinking, well, the poor man may suffer from hip troubles like his grandmother. After Masses, Konrad enjoyed greeting his parish priest who would always receive him unctuously and who would always shyly extend a clammy, limp palm to shake his little hand good morning. The emaciated man with a bad hip and dressed in splendid silks would always open his wide lipless mouth attempting a gleaming, artificial, metal smile. One Sunday morning as he knelt beside his mother saying his prayers before the Divine Liturgy, a thought occured to Konrad. He turned his head up to his mother and whispered: "Do gay priests wear braces so that, at the very least, their teeth might be straight?". His pious mother was nonplused. She demurely threw aside her missal, glared with burning eyes at her impertinent offspring, and with her gloved hand, slapped little Konrad sharply across his rosey cheek as his head struck the back of the wooden pew with a thud: "Silly boy! There are no gay priests!"

Delicious, palpable irony. Since late April, when the Vatican approved the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman, poster child of converts to Catholicism, and paragon powerhouse theologian of the late 19th century, bloggers, journalists, catty queens, and femme-priests have been exchanging glances, raising pinkies, eyebrows, and questions -- enough to make any pompous, portly clerical ostrich regurgitate a sip of Earl Gray into his dainty Royal Dolton with the hand-painted periwinkles. The “John Paul II Priest(esse)s” titter away these days perched before their southern decadent Mochasippies at the Community Coffee House fretting that their covers may be blown by the news (no, that was “covers”, ladies. Get your maniples out the gutter!): “Rumors of our persuasion greatly exaggerated. Pass the nutmeg, would you, Hazel”.
The party line: Newman’s numen beatified, the remains of the venerable deserve a place of rest which bespeaks the dignity of this new position in the Church, at the zenith (actually, just in the narthex as a “beatus”) of the Communio Sanctorum. This means, the cardinal’s bones should be dug up and interred elsewhere where he can be duly venerated by the faithful.
The rub: John Henry Cardinal Newman left specific directives (at three times in his life, the final time shortly before he departed this vale of tears) that he was to be buried in the grave of his dear friend, Father Ambrose St. John. Newman indicated: “I wish with all my heart, to be buried in Fr. Ambrose St. John’s grave – and I give this as my last, imperative will. This I confirm and insist on.” Pretty clear directive, that, and so it went, that when Henry died, he was interred with Ambrose. It is said that Henry spent the night after Ambrose’s passing clinging to the corpse. Whether this account is true or hagiographic is unknown. But if it’s true, one is made to ponder whether Reverend Father had dipped young master Henry into the waters of baptism whilst holding firm of his foot. Were these the tears of Achilles for Patroclus, or the fraternal tears of Cassandra for Hector? The pious and rhetorically adroit homilist may be wise to fake a chiasmus and side with the blind seer. Meanwhile, the lavender confreres of the Second John Paul engorge their inner fire with dramatic readings of Lysistrata, toasting double espressi with boisterous shouts of: “Beniomein!” During the Weimar republic, they termed this behavior “dancing atop the volcano”.
Now this: How deep was this friendship? Post mortem, we know it was at least 6 feet, but in life? The Vatican of course indicates that the two simply enjoyed an intimate celibacy. Fine. Such a gallant, Classical model of friendship. One doesn’t in any way deny that such platonic relationships are possible. They are. But in this case, there seems to be something more. Henry relates this regarding the death of Ambrose: “I have ever thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband’s or a wife’s, but I feel it difficult to believe that any can be greater or anyone’s sorrow greater, than mine.” (Raise eyebrows here). Newman shuts down the Vatican spin machine with one eloquent compound-complex. Perhaps Henry really didn’t mean that his relationship to Ambrose was something like that of a spouse (husband/wife), or like some “über-spouse”, since his grief was actually greater than that of an actual spouse. And sine dubio a mere friendship per se should come nowhere close to the Vatican’s definition of the sacrosanct husband/wife relationship. To set a mere friendship equal to the implications of “husband and wife” would seem, according to the Catholic Catechism, intrinsically disordered. It simply does not fit into the natural chain of being, the order of the universe. Friends are one thing, but husband and wife are certainly another. Here one has a sense that the relationship between Henry and Ambrose was very similar, if not identical (albeit disordered, if such, according to the Church) to a marriage, unless Henry was speaking as metaphorically about his relationship to Ambrose as Christ was speaking metaphorically about his presence in the Eucharist in the sixth chapter of John.
Then, there’s the question of the inscription upon the one, shared tombstone of Ambrose and Henry. It’s splendid: Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem. (From shadows and phantasms into the truth). People take this two ways, and it’s another ICEL problem. One is unsure whether the word “veritatem” is inscribed in the stone with an upper case “V” or a lowercase “v”. That is, seeing the phrase on paper forces one to pose the question of Pilate: “Quid etiam veritas?” Is this “the truth” or is this “Truth”? Mysterium Fidei! The epitaph could either be Henry’s final theological statement: “from death to life”, or it could be a bold Victorian voice daring to speak his love’s name – from the grave, where it was finally safe to do so: the truth. From shadows and phantasms into the truth, that is, from the closet to the daylight. Take it as you will.
A two-sided case if you ever saw one. And a delightfully scrumptious morsel of potential ecclesial scandal, indeed an ambrosial treat for the Schadenfreude connoisseur. The translation of Newman’s bones from their rightful place along with those of his beloved as a required action for canonization is the reddest of herrings. Countless others have been canonized without their relics being translated to other locations. Some saints’ remains have even been lost, misplaced, or mislabeled. Church history is full of such accounts. No need to cite them individually. Just pick up any history book (read Peter Brown’s The Cult of Saints). One view is that this nonsense reflects the Vatican’s embarrassment of having the bones of a candidate for sainthood lying in a grave with those of another man, other than a member of his immediate family. Officially, there are no priests of that persuasion, and certainly there never have been nor will there ever be any saints of that persuasion! A notion to the contrary would leave centuries of clerical pundits, yes-men, and propagandists naked at the erect obelisk in St. Peter’s Square, serene visages covered with eggs(benedict). Of course, if there were, that would mean reams and reams of endless re-writes and re-spins for the Vatican. The theological works associated with Cardinal Henry are just too important and valuable to Christianity simply to have them rendered heretically anathema were it to be made public that their author had a peculiar fondness for men. Don’t remind those coffee house femme-freres over there, but the Church considers folks like them unworthy for ordination. One supposes, they must have butched it up for exams and then slipped on the pumps after Mass (it’s so much easier to genuflect in flats!).
And so, if this odd bone-translation is more an example of Roman damage control, than crowd control, what does it say about the Church’s actual sentiment regarding Topic Q? Something far stricter than what stately stands written in the CCC, that “it’s ok to ‘be’ but not to ‘do’”. As far as we know, the relationship between Henry and Ambrose was non-sexual, however, even with that, the relationship still seems cause for alarm. Could it be that plans for a new stance on the issue are brewing behind the great doors of St. Pete’s? If that’s the case, this issue with Newman should have those lavenders who are sitting pretty in rectories all over the world shaking in their pumps and searching in their Gucci clutches for a tissue and a valium. Close your blinds, ladies, and hide those copies of Death in Venice, and by Jove, don’t eat strawberries in public! It’s sounding like the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy soon may not be good enough to keep the closet doors shut tightly. But then again, if one does make it far enough in the Roman beauty pageant, it’s always (the art of the) possible to ignore reality, re-write history, and add a good dose of spin to cook the history books. That surely would save a pack of white-out and hours of awkward Catechesis. But on the flip side, heaven still hasn’t gotten rid of St. Christopher yet, even though the Church says his prayers are useless for travelers these days. There have and never will be (whisper: gay) priests and for sure no (whisper: gay) saints. It will be interesting how this all turns out. Whether or not Henry Newman was a queen who had a thing for his confrere Father Ambrose has no impact whatsoever upon his theological sense or upon his ministry to the faithful, both during his lifetime and now. If Henry liked the guys more than he should have liked the guys, who the hell cares? If countless popes can sire children (Celibacy? Premarital what?) and still be considered Vicarii Christi in terra, who on heaven or earth is to say that a queen can’t talk about God and be right? And who’s to say that his prayers in heaven are meaningless because he loved another man? If that were the case, thousands and thousands and thousands of Holy Masses worldwide should be rendered invalid because the hands offering them and speaking the prayers on our behalf might be attached to girly-men.
In order to get to the next level, Cardinal Hank needs another miracle to be attributed to him. I’m banking on the mitres shoving the lid off the new marble sarcophagus one day to find, miracle of miracles, the bones of Ambrose St. John locked in eternal embrace with those of his earthly companion. Relics have been known to translate themselves too, you know. Oremus….

Friday, August 8, 2008


I have to admit when I first saw this picture, I thought it was a new church and I was thinking "What the hell is Dick Vosko doing in Alaska?" Ya know, with all the nice churches he's wreckovated and the hideous new churches he's built, something like this wouldn't surprise me.

Fr. Finigan explains what's really going on:
Above is the arctic cyberpod from which Fr Z and myself, the NLM, the Curt Jester and a few other secret bloggers send out death rays to modernist computers round the world, post inaccurate texts, compose viruses that will make computers used to compose clown liturgies give off incense through the air vents, and generally by such means bring the free world to its knees.

(I told him in his combox to count me in!)

Our latest planned jape was to devise a fiendishly inaccurate version of the ICEL texts and pepper the internet with this inaccurate, unfinished, unapproved and unduly altered text that was so totally lacking in integrity that it would cause general mayhem and confusion.

(I just got it, matter of fact... What's this? Father now closes the collect with "We ask this through Christ our Lord, and buddy"???)

Sadly when we heard of the need to write to the USCCB Secretariat of Divine Worship, 3211 Fourth Street, NE, Washington, DC 20017, our plans just collapsed into dust and ashes - we were completely foiled. None of us has written out a postal address for several months and we are out of those square pocket thingies with the gummed flap you have to lick and fold down, and those little coloured squares you have to stick on. So we had a nice cup of tea instead.

(DAMN! I got a whole boxful of those square pocket thingies with the gummed flap you have to lick and fold down. Can't help you on the little colored squares you have to stick on, though. Sorry.)


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Prometheus Bound (but not for long!)

Brian and I are obviously on the same wave length. I wrote up my reaction and priase for the new translation of the Ordo Missae and in the meantime, he snuck on and posted a blurb about it too. So, read both!

It’s done! Fire has been stolen from the liberals! Only problem, now they have us chained to a rock. Your Excellency, that’s my liver you’re eating!

If you haven’t done so already, make a visit to the American mitres’ website,, and check out the complete text of the new English language edition of the Ordo Missae. Translators and scholars have been hard at work for several years now preparing this edition, including myself, who early in this decade was called upon twice by the translation committee of the Diocese of Lafayette to submit my own commentary upon working drafts of the translation. Such commentaries were added to those the comments and suggestions of committees in Dioceses world-wide which were then submitted in the names of the bishops to the actual translators. The product of this work can now be seen at the website of the American bishops.
Both times I reviewed the work there were numerous quibbles regarding the nuances of the Latin text, especially trickier sections of the Roman Canon which, because of grammatical differences and idiom, posed real problems to the English rendering. Most of these areas have been smoothed over, a couple still remain a bit troublesome in this Latinist’s opinion, however, when considering the work as a whole, the end result is a stately, reverent text which vastly improves upon the faulty edition we’ve been made to endure for the past several decades. My opinion still stands that the best translation of the sacred texts into English is that of the original texts of the Book of Common Prayer, however this new English work comes the closest so far to Elizabethan mastery and the expert Scriptural translations of the subsequent generation.
For decades, we’ve been forced to believe we were all stupid Catholics: we suddenly needed a dancing diva in front of us to flail her arms at us when we needed to sing, we needed all the lessons explained to us in kindergarten English because we may not be able to follow the complicated basic language of Paul, and we needed an overly simplified gloss of the Mass texts so that, in the perception of delirious drug-buzzing hippie liturgists and bleeding-heart, borderline personality laywomen and those habit-kicking, polyester nuns, we could “fully participate”. Problem was, these annoying gals who successfully castrated the Church hadn’t read their Plato (more than likely out of a protest against the “establishment”) and therefore had not a single clue what the Epistle writer meant by “participation”, and subsequently not the foggiest what the Vatican II documents meant by the term. In the liturgical nuclear winter following the peasant rebellion which sung a New Church into being in the 1960’s, we had lost all concept of reverence and dignity in worship – in thought, word, and deed.
Not that this new English translation is some magic cure-all. Hardly. But it is a good step forward in the reform of the reform. And don’t think the American mitres aren’t fighting like hell to slow the implementation of the new text. They are. Why? Because many of them believe the translation is too “high brow”, that we stupid English-speaking Catholics won’t be able to grasp the vocabulary of our own language, and that long-term catechesis will be required before implementation. Catechesis Cateschmesis! That damn word is the excuse for a litany of sins. It’s a Greek word that means “to allow lazy priests to procrastinate and show their disdain for Roman authority.” Meantime, we can visit the USSCB (USSR?) website…and dream. Use of the new text will signal a weakening of the Bolsheviks’ hold on the Kremlin, urgh, I mean, the liberal bishops’ hold on the American Church to force, at least in language, a more dignified approach to the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries in English.
We will no longer be walking up to a hippie Jesus-dude to offer him a toke on our Mystery Mass Spliffs and inviting him to the pad after to drop acid with the chicks. I am most taken by the correct stress placed in the new edition upon the Grace of God and the Mercy of God. The new translation presents us approaching the Divine with reverence and awe, asking that we might be pleasing to him. The text forces us Americans to acknowledge that we actually do indeed have a monarch, and that he is the Christ of God. The new edition embodies the spirit of the original, which itself (as the Holy Father confirms in his excellent book Geist der Liturgie) is linked to worship in the ancient world – Classical period and before. From the tone of the text, we see that we don’t just casually come together “to do Mass” (like we’ve been doing since the early 1970’s), but that the Mass is an actual sacrifice (here’s where I ask the bleeding hearts to pick up Plato and figure out what I mean – If the language is too hard, call your local mitre for catechesis, or just do like the rest of us: pick up a Webster’s).
So what do we do now? We wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. Then we wait. We’ll know the waiting is over when we suddenly hear Chant and Polyphony again, we have an organ with a trained organist, we see the priest at the altar ad orientem, and we have a good, reverent and dignified English text of the Mass. Then we will know we American Catholics have reclaimed the church’s liturgical tradition, available since 1970 only among the Protestants. After that, the only hurdle remaining will be to convince the self-proclaimed and self-glorified “John Paul II priest(esse)s” that they 1) aren’t Shirley Temple, and that 2) the Wife of Bathe isn’t really the best role model.

THE NEW MASS ORDINARY TRANSLATION... available for viewing at the USCCB website. The page linked here is the introductory letter by Bishop Arthur Serratelli, chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship (CDW), stating its approval by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (the other CDW, but with a DS added on, tee hee!), followed by links to the complete Mass Ordinary text, and individual links to each of the four Eucharistic Prayers (the original four that came with the Novus Ordo - there's no mention of any of those added on later, i.e., Reconciliation, Children's, etc.).

The big question now is when do they take place? There is no promulgation date indicated, but that's probably because the Propers (orations, readings, Psalms, etc.) are still going through the ringer and the Bishops are most likely waiting so that they can put it all together in one package.

I can't help but to think positive. After all, the big difference between the new CDW and the old BCL is that unlike the old BCL, the new CDW is chaired by a bishop who gets it!



I am happy to announce that the original Psalm settings I mentioned here and here are now available for free download via the Chabanel Psalm Project!

Here are the catalog numbers for the Psalms that will be in use soon:

This weekend coming - the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time:
Lord, let us see your kindness - #4556 (link to Year A page)

The Psalms for the Sundays of Advent 2008 can be found at #4553, #4556, #4559, and #4562 respectively. (link to Year B page)

ALL THREE YEARS in the liturgical cycle are uploaded for the Sundays of Advent (Immaculate Conception will come when I get to the Proper of the Saints section - right now I'm kind of working in order of the Lectionary) and Christmas Season. The first Sunday of Lent is also finished (all three years, and note: Lent 1A's Psalm is also used on Ash Wednesday). Oh, and for good measure, here's the link to the Year C page, too! Additionally, all of the texts are from the Lectionary for Mass; there are no paraphrases!

Here are some of the remarks that came into my e-mail over the past couple of days from Jeff Ostrowski, the project's founder:

Your pieces are magnificent!
I'm here with the director, and we cannot wait to post them on the site!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Yes, the highlighting and large font was included in the message as I received it!)

Your compositions are so lovely
I am posting them right now
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and finally, this morning, on this beautiful Feast of the Transfiguration,

I have posted your psalms, and they are AMAZING
I cannot describe to you how wonderful they are!!!!
I am so honored you sent them to me
They are truly magnificent in every way

(Again, the large font and highlighting provided by the sender)

I think you'll like these settings, as well as those of other great contributors such as Jeff Ostrowski, Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, Sam Schmitt, Arlene Oost Zinner, and more. I am honored (yet humbled) to be in the company of these fine people.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008


Last week, when I returned online, I mentioned the Psalm settings I have written. In this post, I mentioned setting a price on each of these. Today I did one better - I wrote to Jeff Ostrowski, the pilot of the Chabanel Psalm Project, and sent him a copy of my Psalm 122 with a footer "If you like this, I'll send you the rest of what I have."

In the meantime, I just finished the Psalms for the First Sunday of Lent (all three years):

Be Merciful, O Lord - in unison, completely adapted to Parce, Domine.
Your Ways, O Lord - refrain in SATB, Psalm tone exactly the same as the one I used for To You, O Lord (since they're both Psalm 25).
Be with Me, Lord - refrain in SATB, Verses set to Tonus Peregrinus.

Although an accompaniment (organ, not "piano" or "keyboard" like the "big three" often indicate in their scores) is included for these three, these can be very easily (and effectively) rendered a cappella.


Sunday, August 3, 2008



We WON the Attleboro Tournament! - UPDATE 9:00 PM

Early this morning our girls played the game that they were supposed to play yesterday afternoon (it just HAD to rain now, didn't it?). Britt's team beat Abington, MA, by a score of 8-2. Brittany walked in the first inning and scored on a triple by Kaylee M. I had to leave for Mass after the triple. The report from Ann (my wife) and Brittany (my daughter) was that Brittany went 1 for 2 after that - first a whiff, then a two-run single.

This third victory, coupled with the fact that we outscored our opponents in these three games 29-2, gave us top seed for the championship round.

The 2:00 game was a rematch against the Boston team we played yesterday. Britt whiffed twice, again baffled by Boston pitching, but we beat them again - this time 5-1.

The 5:00 game was a 7-0 shutout win over Plainville, MA. Here Britt walked and grounded out.

Finally, the 7:00 game against Swansea, MA - Britt whiffed twice, but we took that game 6-0, and the CHAMPIONSHIP! In six games, we outscored our opponents 47-3.

BMP, the proud Dad!

Saturday, August 2, 2008



I begin work on August 18 as a Customer Service Manager Trainee (er, driver/sales) for Schwan's Home Food Service. I was quite surprised that my soon-to-be boss would call at suppertime on a Saturday, but it was a very happy surprise.

I'll be driving one of these nice toys!


PS: REMINDER! I have every intention of keeping on top of things here on the blog, and I have every intention of continuing the podcast.


Another tourney - this one close to home, finally!

This post will be updated throughout the day, as we're coming home in between games.

This weekend begins a tourney in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Three games today - 8:00 AM, 12:15 PM, and 4:30 PM - to determine seed for championship games to be played tomorrow (same format as what the rain-shortened tourney last week in Warwick, Rhode Island, was supposed to be).

8:00 AM - vs. Natick, MA
Our girls put on a clinic, smoking Natick by a score of 14-0. Brittany hit a sacrifice grounder to short in the second inning, driving in a run. In the fourth, she hit an RBI single to right field.

12:15 PM - vs. Boston, MA
Another shutout win for our girls - this time 7-0. Brittany whiffed twice, both times swinging. For the second straight game, Kayleigh, our pitcher, pitched a beauty - giving up only ONE hit (five girls walked, but I'd say at least twice as many whiffed, and one of Boston's girls reached on an error)!

4:30 PM - vs. Abington, MA
Rained out! GRRR!

First game tomorrow is at 8 AM.

(PS: This is actually post #2099. I moved it up to reflect the update.)


Good thing I switched hit counters when I did!

Trying to get to Fr. Z's blog and other blogs, I had encountered this error message:

At first I thought it was me, as several blogs sent that error message. It turns out that blogs and website that have Sitemeter loaded are generating this error message to Internet Explorer users. This info is coming from Diane at Te Deum Laudamus (the screenshot above is Diane's as well). She removed Sitemeter, and her blog is now working fine.

Incidentally, I switched hit counters months ago, thank God!

UPDATE: Diane left a link to a list of Google News stories on Sitemeter's chaos in the combox.



So do Parallel Fourths and Parallel Octaves!

This video makes me want to write an entire hymn tune on nothing but parallel fourths, fifths, and octaves. Enjoy!

Friday, August 1, 2008


Yesterday, the ultimate three-team trade took place between the Cardinal O'Malley Red Sox, the Cardinal Mahony Dodgers, and the Bishop Zubik Pirates...

Red Sox send Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers, and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen to the Pirates.
Pirates send equally good left fielder Jason Bay to the Red Sox.
Dodgers send two minor leaguers to the Pirates.

A win-win-win for all three teams. The Pirates, minus Bay, beat the Cardinal George Cubs 3-0. As for the Dodgers game against the Bishop Olmstead Diamondbacks, we'll have to wait till the morning for that score (they're scoreless in the third as I write this - 11:15 PM). However, Nomar Garciaparra was reportedly happy as a pig in the mud to see Ramirez.

The big story (at least right now) is Jason Bay's first game in a Red Sox uniform. Though he struck out twice, Bay also walked twice and was hit by a pitch. Fast forward to the 12th inning - yes, I did say 12th (it was tied 1-1). With two outs in the bottom of the 12th, Bay hit a towering shot that just missed being parked over the Green Monster by inches. Instead, it hit off the mammoth wall and Bay slid into third for a triple - his first Red Sox hit. Next batter: rookie Jed Lowrie. Lowrie hit an infield single, scoring Bay, and ending the game with a 2-1 Sox victory.


RSCT to Gerald, who moved his Closed Cafeteria over to his new WordPress digs - Standing Athwart History.

William Saletan over at has a the goods - The city of L.A. passed a city ordinance that outlaws the building of new fast-food restaurants in a large section of the city that a half-million low-income residents call home. Click on either of the links above for the full story.

On a related note, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is passing a directive ordering low-fat Hosts for use at Holy Communion at all of their parishes.


(PS: that last paragraph is NOT a true story, just my idea of a punchline for the real story!) :-P


Mary Jane Ballou over at Sacred Miscellany came up with a cool idea for iPods: Load them with hymns and songs (not all of the songs in the hymn section of a Music Issue or Gather Comprehensive are hymns) of all different kinds. Then, those who pitch your typical complaints ("I don't like Latin", "I want Latin", "I'm sad that there are certain songs we're never going to sing again" - that pops up after about a couple of months of my direction, "too traditional", "too contemporary", etc.) can just listen to what they like when it's really time to sing.

Mary Jane explains:
On entering the church, each worshipper will pick up a pre-loaded iPod. (This can be one of the less expensive models since the storage space is minimal.) After a brief prayer of recollection, he or she can sit back in the pew and select the hymn package they prefer – contemporary, traditional, kids' favorites, funeral. Then each time a hymn is appropriate, just press "play." Since they don't sing anyway, their voices won't clash.
Another service that can easily improve worship in the "Church of All About Me."

On the other hand, as Mary Jane rightfully states in bold:
Of course, as an alternative we could educate worshippers in the meaning and purpose of the liturgy.

BTW, I pick the iPod with the Latin hymns and chants, along with good solid traditional-style hymns in English too. What do you mean you ran out? There's hardly anyone in church yet!

One other add-on of my own: what if you don't like Father's preaching? Can you get an iPod loaded with your favorite podcast? Rosary Army? Catholic: Under the Hood? Christus Vincit ANYWHERE? (The middle title would be the best bet, since it's hosted by a priest.)